In the beginning of a career, freelancers often fail to realize they need to properly interpret job ads, calls for writers and other important communications designed to lure you into a life of making money in your pajamas. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Have a look at this handy vocabulary list and keep these definitions–assembled in no particular order– in mind when you read the next set of writer’s guidelines, a call for submissions or writing contest rules:
Freelancer: Someone with a large supply of alcohol and no steady employment.
Freelance Writer: Someone with a large supply of alcohol, no steady employment, and a website.
Submission Guidelines: A list of Byzantine rules designed to weed out lazy writers, chumps, and noobs. Any disregard for the arcane demands of the guidelines are quickly round-filed with a low, evil laugh.
Exposure: Editor-speak for “no pay”.
Coffee: A performance-enhancing drug.
Writing Instructor: A freelance writer who has enough clients or good paying gigs to turn down paying assignments to hold court for little or no pay.
Zombie: A freelance writer who stops working for the evening.
Writers Wanted: An incomplete sentence which should be fully rendered thus: “Writers wanted for low pay.”
Objectivity: A term sometimes used by magazine editors, roughly translated as “matching viewpoints”.
College degree preferred: A term commonly found in job posts by high-profile media companies such as NPR, CBS, NBC, etc. When found in less prestigious publications, websites or media companies, should be rendered “Writer sought by people who don’t understand the business of writing.”
Multi-tasking: A learned skill. The ability to tell several lies at once about the status of multiple projects.
Telecommuting: The act of working until 7PM without showering or brushing one’s teeth.
Cell Phone: A tool used to enslave creative people to their cruel masters.
Sleep: A five-hour vacation from freelance work.